Incoming Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and Guatemala’s head of state Jimmy Morales met on Tuesday in Mexico to discuss migration as well as tourism and economics between the two countries.
Lopez Obrador, also known as AMLO, said militarized borders won’t solve migration issues throughout Central and North America, and two agreed that they needed to examine the structural causes of why people leave their home countries.
AMLO told the press standing alongside his Guatemalan counterpart: "I don’t see the migratory phenomenon matter being solved by the militarization of borders, but by taking care of its causes, mainly creating better living conditions so that the people are not forced to migrate." The Mexican president-elect said that migration is a human right and should be an option instead of an obligation.
United States President Donald Trump has been calling for fortifying the border wall at the Mexico border at the estimated cost of US$20 billion dollars. He insists Mexico pay for it, even though he has asked Congress to budget US$ 3 billion toward the mammoth infrastructure.
Lopez Obrador said as president he calls on the North and Central American countries to create a joint, comprehensive development plan to decrease migration across these nations.
"A joint, comprehensive development plan would be created involving Canada, the United States and Mexico, the Central American countries that we would all contribute to according to the size of our economies and implement development programs to lessen the migration phenomenon," said Lopez Obrador.
Migration to the United States and Canada from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador increased by 25 percent between 2007 and 2015. Most Guatemalans cite economic reasons for leaving their home country, but violence and insecurity are also major drivers, according to a 2017 study by the Center for Immigration Studies.
Guatemala’s president said he’s looking forward to strengthening ties with his northern neighbor. Morales said: "We have to integrate systems more, from security to taxes." He added two countries have so many things in common and share so much culture. The Guatemalan leader added the two administrations will be able to increase connectivity across their shared border and solve more problems together than previous governments.
AMLO invited Morales to his Dec. 1 inauguration and assured him that Guatemala will be the first country he will visit as president. He will be in office till 2024.